Yesterday, Masahiro Tanaka announced that he would not opt-out of his existing contract with the New York Yankees, meaning that he’ll remain with the team until 2020.
“It was a simple decision for me as I have truly enjoyed the past four years playing for this organization and for the wonderful fans of New York,” wrote Tanaka in his statement. “I’m excited to continue to be a part of this team, and I’m committed to our goal of bringing a World Series championship back to the Steinbrenner family, the Yankees organization, and the great fans of New York.”
In 2017, Tanaka pitched 178.1 innings, the second most in his major-league career behind only his 2016 season. His decision to remain with the Yankees likely rested on his 4.74 ERA in 2017, a mark that teams may be unwilling to pay much for in free agency.
An interesting aspect of Tanaka’s decision is when it’s considered with the context of Shohei Otani, who may (or may not, as Jon Heyman reported) make the leap to MLB prior to the 2018 season. Although Otani has been more frequently connected to Yu Darvish, the connection New York has to Japanese baseball should not be overlooked.
The Blue Jays hired Canadian scout Jay Lapp yesterday, per Bob Elliot of the Canadian Baseball Network. The team now has the most scouts covering Canada for 2018 since 2002, Elliot writes.
As Tom wrote on Thursday, the Blue Jays are nearing the end of a long road towards keeping their spring training home in Dunedin, as the Dunedin City Council unanimously signed a motion to begin a dialogue of negotiations. Funding for the renovation project has yet to be secured.
To read the full blog post from someone who knows a lot more about this than me, head over to www.baseballbetsy.wordpress.com.
While Tanaka picked up his option with New York, both J.J. Hardy and pitcher Wade Miley had their options declined by the Baltimore Orioles yesterday.
Hardy missed three months of the 2017 season with a broken right wrist and batted only .217 in 73 games. His option was worth $14 million.
Miley posted a 5.61 ERA in a full season (32 starts) but pitched only 157.1 innings, his fewest since his first season at the major-league level.